Crows and ravens (and most birds of the corvid family) are very intelligent creatures and make great pets. However, the US government forbids people to own them as pets, so you can do the next best thing: make friends with wild ones. Most people view such birds as pests, but if you’re like me, you’re impressed by their beauty and cleverness and would like to attract them to your yard.
The first step to attracting a murder of crows and ravens to your property is to remove anything that might be scaring them away (i.e. something that looks like a large animal or person). If you have a dog or cat at home, you’re likely not going to keep any of these kinds of birds around for long either.
Corvids are especially fond of corn and cat food. You’ll have to be careful with the cat food, however, since there is the risk of attracting raccoons (but perhaps you have no qualms with those either). Corvids catch on quickly, and after a few days of consistent feeding, they will start returning to your home on a regular basis.
These birds also enjoy bird baths that are dark, long, and smooth. Not only will they drink and bathe in these baths, they will also deposit their excess dead prey there for later.
Crows and ravens are fairly confident creatures, and if you are calm, gentle, and come to be seen as a giver of food, some might let you get close and even pet them. Just give it time and a consistent effort to attract them and you’ll soon be hearing their lovely caws outside your window every day.
UPDATE: For more advice on attracting corvids to your yard, see the latest post, “Attracting Crows and Ravens: Addendum“.